Hornbill Festival

Hornbill Festival

Starting from Meghalaya, you will visit Shillong, a charming hill-station with rich colonial heritage and bustling with stylish Khasi men and women. Discover the wilderness of Kaziranga National Park, through grasslands and teeming forests. The tour will eventually enter the verdant mountains of Nagaland, you will cross through the Patkai Ranges and the Naga Hills, lands inhabited by the 16 ever-fierce Naga tribes. You will stay in in the Angami Tribe regions of Kohima and around, where you can stay in home stay, visiting villages and historic remains of WW2. Back to Assam, you will visit Majuli, a large island which sits right in the lapse of the peaceful waters of the mighty Brahmaputra River. A hotbed of ancient Assamese culture, the island is home to numerous medieval monasteries where monks young and old learn a unique form of arts, music, drama, dance and Neo-Vaishnavite philosophy.

Hornbill Festival

Explore some of the most pristine destinations in India! Set in the far east, the states of Assam, Nagaland, and Meghalaya offer lush green hill landscapes, picturesque towns and villages and unique cultures of their own.

Tour Highlights

  1. Explore 3 states in 2 weeks
  2. Interact with the cheerful Nagas
  3. Discover Kaziranga National Park
  4. Trek to the double-deck living root bridge

Itinerary

Guwahati – Umiam Lake – Shillong – Cherrapunjee – Nongpoh – Kaziranga NP– Kohima – Jorhat – Majuli – Guwahati

Day 1: Arrival in Guwahati – Umiam Lake (3 hrs – 100 Km)
After breakfast, you head to Meghalaya, the abode of the clouds, and its beautiful luxuriant hills. The road serpentines through sylvan hills and wrapped in the beauty of an assortment of green Khasi-pines and the azure blue skies. You can stop in Nongpoh for a pineapple tasting. Continue up to Umiam Lake and then Shillong. Night in hotel.
Day 2: Umiam Lake - Shillong – Cherrapunjee (4 hrs - 100 Km)
After breakfast, drive to Cherrapunjee, where the sign “the rainiest place on planet Earth” greets you. The road to Cherrapunjee through the East Khasi Hills winds through dense pine and oak forests, full of ferns and orchids. En route are dramatic gorges and ravines, waterfalls and limestone caves. After whole day of sightseeing, stay at hotel.
Day 3: Cherrapunjee
After breakfast, go for a trek (around 3000 steps) to the root bridge of Cherrapunjee with a local guide. You have the option of visiting the single decker bridge or unique double decker bridge. Picnic and swim in natural pools. Night in resort. Option: Trekking to Umkar Living Root Bridge (1 hr walk) Walk to Laitkynsew View Point (1 hr walk) Walk to Nongwar View Point (1 hr walk) Trekking to Umunoi Living Root Bridge (3 hrs walk) Trekking to double decker Root Bridge (5/6 hrs) Trekking to Kongthong Village (2d/1n)
Day 4: Cherrapunjee – Nongpoh (4 hrs – 120 Km)
Road back to Nongpoh via Shillong. Night in homestay.
Day 5: Nongpoh – Kaziranga NP (6 hrs – 240 Km)
After breakfast drive to Kaziranga National Park. Night in hotel/resort.
Day 6: Kaziranga NP
In this delightful day, you will embark on 2 thrilling jeep safaris which will go deep inside the wilderness of the national park, through grasslands and teeming forests. There are four forest belts in Kaziranga, namely Agoratoli (eastern range) which is primarily dense forest, Kohora (central range) grasslands and home to majority of the rhinos, Bagori (western range) has mixed grasslands and forest and the offbeat Burapahar range which has a hilly forested terrain. Apart from the jeep safaris in the forest ranges and wildlife corridors, visitors can also enjoy a river safari at the confluence of Dhansiri and Brahmaputra rivers to spot the river dolphins, aquatic species, migratory wetland birds and also perhaps the tiger! Night in resort.
Day 7: Kaziranga NP – Kohima (4/5 hrs - 210 Km)
After breakfast, drive to Kohima in Nagaland. Located in the Naga Hills, Kohima is a beautiful hill station bustling with members of various Naga tribes. In and around Kohima, you will visit various sustainable villages of the tribes, interact with them and taste the Naga cuisine which is famous throughout India for its variety of meat and exoticness. Stay will be in a homestay or a hotel.
Day 8: Kohima
After breakfast drive to Kisama Heritage Village to witness the Hornbill festival. Whole day at the festival. Drive back to Kohima for night stay. Night in hotel. Kisama (Naga Heritage Village): the Hornbill Festival is a major event that take place within the confines of this heritage village that is about 12 Km from Kohima. It is a yearly feature held from 1st to 10th of December, where a visitor gets an opportunity to get a ring side view of the richness and uniqueness of the Naga heritage, its people and culture.
Day 9: Kohima
After breakfast we drive to the village of Khonoma, one of the prettiest villages in all of Nagaland. This village which has a very rich culture and history is the stronghold of the Angami tribe. In the Angami dialect the village is pronounced as ‘Khwunomia’ which is a conjunction of the words ‘Khwuno’ and ‘Mia’. Khwuno is the name of a small plant found around the village while Mia translates to dwellers. Walk around the village understanding the cultural significance of certain structures and the history behind them. The village also has some national award winning basket weavers whom you can visit and interact with. Traditional lunch in the village. Afterwards you can head to KNCTS to enjoy a short walk in the lap of nature. Then return back to Kohima for the night. The thick forest, teaming with birds for which Khonoma has a unique position in Nagaland. It holds the distinction of being the only village in Nagaland where logging and hunting is banned. In 1998 the villagers demarcated 70 sq. Kms of the community forest as a reserved forest christening it the Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary (KNCTS).
Day 10: Kohima– Jorhat (5 hrs - 200 Km)
Drive to Jorhat. Enroute visit the oldest Tea Research & Training Institute. In the evening, enjoy a life quite different from the normal, a feeling of life like old British Tea Planters. Night in bungalow.
Day 11: Jorhat – Majuli (1 hr ferry - 15 Km)
After breakfast, drive to Neematighat and take a boat cruise to Majuli (1 or 2 hrs upstream boat cruise - the time depends upon the water level of the river) - one of the largest inhabited river island in the world and famous for the Vaishnavite Satras or monasteries and its culture. Enroute there is a possibility of sighting flocks of migratory water birds and the Gangetic River Dolphin. Visit the monasteries and interface with tribes on the island. Night in bamboo hut.
Day 12: Majuli
Full day visit of Majuli by car/cycle/motorcycle. Explore the satras, its dancing monks and Mishing villages. This day will also acquaint you with Majuli's textile heritage as you visit small weaving villages along the Brahmaputra river that are entirely sustained by this cottage industry. After interacting with the weavers, it will soon become evident that the sociocultural life of these communities are significantly expressed in their textiles and patterns. Continue on to visit a mask painters’ workshop and a potters’ village. Pottery is made by hand from beaten clay (not on potters’ wheels) and burnt in driftwood-fired kilns; this is said to be the same method used by the people of the ancient Harrappan Civilisation. In addition, if you are interested, Majuli Island is a bird watchers’ paradise; it is home to nearly one hundred species of birds, including many rare and endangered species, such as the greater adjutant stork, pelican and the whistling teal. Night in traditional bamboo hut.
Day 13: Majuli – Guwahati (1 hr ferry + 6 hrs drive - 310 Km)
Morning take a ferry ride across Brahmaputra River to arrive at Nimatighat and drive down to Guwahati. Night in hotel.
Day 14: Departure from Guwahati
Transfer to the airport. End of our services.
  • Best Season: October to March
map of Nawabs of Lucknow

The highlights of this trip

Hornbill Festival

Nagaland is known as the ‘Land of Festivals’ and one such grand carnival, organized by the State Tourism of Arts and Culture Department, Government of Nagaland is ‘Hornbill festival’. Also known as ”Festival of Festivals”, this is a commonly celebrated being a traditional cluster of all the seventeen Naga tribes, to promote intercultural harmony. It hardly has any featureless moments and provides a lifetime opportunity to know about ancient tribal lives through the exploration of the structure of tribal huts, which is dated back to primaeval lifestyles including other instruments like drums, gongs, costumes and wooden carvings. 

Vaishnavite Satras

Majuli is a cultural hodgepodge. Beyond the animistic cultures of some of its tribal folk, Majuli is also a stronghold of Vaishnavite culture in Assam – a sect of Hinduism that follows Lord Vishnu, the sustainer. In the 15th century, the Assamese reformer and saint, Shankardeva had set up ‘satras’ or Vaishnavite monasteries to initiate the people in matters of culture and religion. Spend a day visiting these ‘satras’ and interacting with the sadhus and initiates, to understand some of the rhythms and religious beliefs of the island dwellers.

Living Root Bridge

Double decker living root bridge: Cherrapunjee -one of the wettest places on Earth. Trekked through the prettiest villages and narrow streams to make her way to its incredible, fantastical Living Root bridges. . The dense jungle and uninterrupted rains of Meghalaya. The Double-decker living root bridge near Nongriat village in Meghalaya state, India. The bridge is made from the roots of rubber trees .

 

  • Wildlife 80% 80%
  • Tribes 85% 85%
  • Festivals 90% 90%
  • Landscapes 95% 95%

Hornbill Festival

Really very organised as it was also last minute in India! I had my wise list of what I wanted to see, and I saw it all and more..”

Rick Patel – Chicago, USA

Overall the most memorable part will be the warm welcome and friendliness of all the people we met..

“Seeing the tigers in Kaziranga National Park, meeting the retired head-hunters in the Konyak villages and lunch in a traditional Ao hut at Moponchuket. Overall the most memorable part will be the warm welcome and friendliness of all the people we met.

Terry & Justina – Melbourne, Australia.

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